1 Thing You Can Do This Week to Make a Practical Step Forward


Save Critique for Yourself (and Yourself Only, May I Add)

Even though there’s a theory blowing in the wind that constructive criticism actually exists, most critique that leaves one’s lips and floats in the direction of another soul generally manifests some sort of destruction.

There’s only one person who can handle your critique—you

Why?

Because you know when to give it, how to present it and when to drop it before you start crying.

It is not a courtesy you can promise to someone else, who might fall victim to your burst of opinions.

Critique has value when it is offered in the mind of one human, heard in the heart of the same being and set in motion within the soul of the identical person.

After all, three things are for sure:

  1. You can hear it.
  2. You will recover from the experience.
  3. You can change.

Now, this makes for great critique.

All other attempts are hidden forms of malice, jealousy, confusion, ignorance and selfishness.


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Sit Down Comedy …March 22nd, 2019

Jonathots Daily Blog

(3992)


I bought a loaf of bread. I didn’t eat it all.

So on the eighth or ninth day, I visited the cupboard to see if I could get another slice of life and discovered that the bread had been overtaken by mold.

I paused.

I considered removing the wrapper, cutting the mold off and eating the rest, but the mold also came with a smell—actually, similar to beer. So reluctantly—maybe even a little aggravated—I took my last five or six slices, now moldy, and tossed them into the garbage.

I was a little surprised how fussy I was about it. I don’t know if I just had my heart set on a sandwich or if I felt cheated because my bread gave up.

But I knew this: mold does not get better. I couldn’t do some “treatment” to my bread and return the next day and find it unmoldy. Once mold arrives it takes over. Quite aggressive. And it isn’t pretty—grayish-green with little hairy arms.

It’s a nasty substance and it turns bread into shit. (You can hear by my words that I was really put off.)

Welcome to America.

I’ve heard us called “the breadbasket of the world.” I was told as a youngster that our farmlands could feed the nations. Not much talk about that of late—nowadays farmers are trying to survive and make their beans and corn cover their budgets. No one trying to feed the four corners.

But we once were the breadbasket. Then one day, we reached into our souls, our mind, our heart and into our principles and pulled out moldy bread. Really bad mold.

And as I told you earlier, mold doesn’t get better. You can’t reform mold. You can’t try to find a way to accept it and develop a taste for it. You have to throw the whole damn thing out.

That’s unfortunate. It’s unfortunate but it’s necessary.

Truth is, one apple does not spoil the whole bushel—but one little piece of mold does spoil the whole loaf, because the climate necessary to breed that mold permeates all the way to the crust.

Likewise, the insolence, selfishness and meanness that have brought about the present American way of dealing with each other has spoiled many of the treasures we used to hold dear.

Some things have just got to be thrown out. There isn’t a choice. It’s because the mold has taken over the “bread of life” in America and the mold is a simple poison. Here it is:

  • “My ideas are more important than you.”
  • “My faith is more valuable than your freedom.”
  • “My politics are divinely inspired, while yours are evil.”
  • “My lifestyle is superior.”
  • “Even my dog is more human than any of you.”

And,

  • “I and those who came out of my orgasm of procreation are much higher in quality, and it’s difficult to tolerate you anymore.”

There’s the mold. It’s gotta go.

You can try to save some of the stuff, but the arguing that we call politics has to be thrown in the trash, even if we lose some “debate.”

The beliefs we call religion have to be dumped even if we ignore a verse or two of holy writ.

And the definition of family needs to expand to include everybody twenty-five thousand miles in any direction throughout the entire Earth.

If we don’t do this, we’re going to start believing that the worst parts of the bread can be cut off, and the rest will be just fine, even though it tastes a little pukey.

We are permeated with the mold of those who are too old, too bold and too cold. Some things must be thrown away.

I, for one, am going to go into my cabinet, where I keep my soul, and start clearing out the nastiness. Anything that makes me believe that I’m better than you, or that my ideas are more God-like, or that my politics have the touch of grace while yours are imbedded with the sinister, will be dumped into the trash.

Buy fresh bread. Don’t get more than you need.

Matter of fact, start thinking of it this way:

“Give us this day our daily bread.”

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Good News and Better News… March 20th, 2017

 Jonathots Daily Blog

(3252)

If you get a penny for a thought, then sense would cost you hundreds of dollars. It is the commodity the human race haggles for, but often settles for much less dividend.

There are three types of sense: ultimate sense, common sense and human sense.

For the sake of simplicity, let me explain that ultimate sense is, “I’ve got God’s brain.”

Common sense could be defined as, “I’ve got a good brain.”

And human sense, plainly stated, is, “I’ve got my brain.”

None of us have ultimate sense. There are inklings in ancient writings that someday, once we have surrendered to death, all knowledge will be transfused into our eternal spirit. But I secretly believe that the Creator of the Universe will probably hold back a few details for Himself.

Now, common sense is that basic 25 things we learn before the age of five which continue in our adult life if we trust them and pursue them. They make us happy people.

For instance, don’t stick your finger into a light socket (pictured above). Being nice to people, generally speaking, makes them be nice to you. Don’t stick a Q-tip too deeply into your ear. Water boils at 212 degrees, but don’t thrust your hand into it. If you want to be around people, set up a respectable shower schedule.

It is not only common–it is understandable. Most of the difficulty that befalls us is from rejecting common sense. Is it rebellion? Is it stupidity? Is it forgetfulness?

No. It’s when we get overtaken by human sense.

Human sense is that selfish notion that we are unique and require our own set of rules. This makes us ask three ridiculous questions:

  1. What do I lack?
  2. How unfair is this?
  3. Why doesn’t anyone care?

So long before we can get answers, we have to be ministered to and healed of these nasty insecurities which trap us into human sense and deny common sense.

Truthfully, if you want to have a revival in your church, just take three or four months to journey your congregation on returning to common sense, ignoring the selfishness of human sense, which fails to recognize other people or the power of universal principles.

The good news is that God, with ultimate sense, sent Jesus to teach common sense to try to awaken us from our human sense of doom and gloom.

The better news is that if you can awaken the common sense in people again, they begin to believe that God is a possibility instead of a myth.

 

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Reverend Meningsbee (Part 40) And With All Your Getting … February 5th, 2017

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Reverend Meningsbee

Sluggish.

A solemn surrender to sadness.

After many weeks of a revival of human emotion, appreciation and pursuit of the general welfare, the Garsonville community gradually settled back into its traditional format of pending suspicion and growing apprehension.

It was actually rather sudden–a transition that occurred over a two-week period. One moment people were smiling, greeting each other warmly and taking an extra second or two while shaking hands. And the next thing you knew, they were creating distance, staking claim to their turf.

Meningsbee noticed it immediately. When he turned to face the congregation, they had stopped grinning. Now they were peering–that fussy, Midwestern squint, poised to offer disapproval.

He felt alone.

This reversion to blandness, which was so clear to him, seemed satisfactory to the rest of the gang, which had obviously decided that the resurrection in their spirits had merely been a Ferris Wheel ride of intrigue. Now it was time to return home from the circus, to do the chores and milk the cows.

Meningsbee thought to himself that over the years, many preachers from this community had faced this quandary–a burst of enthusiasm followed by creeping and crawling backwards, to a profile of preoccupation.

Those ministers may have decided to ignore the digression and accept the inevitable. Not Richard Meningsbee.

So on the ninth Sunday after the beginning of the town’s jubilation, he stood before the congregation and spoke.

“Rich. Young. Ruler.

“That’s how the Good Book describes him. Not a bad combo, do you think? I don’t believe there’s a person here who would object to being richer, younger or even ruling something.

“It also lets us know that this fella was intrigued by all things spiritual. His journey had taken him through the rigors of religion–following commandments, listening to sermons and abstaining from lying and adultery.

“Then he hears about a young man from Nazareth who has an earth-shaking rendition of God-talk. So the rich, young ruler–being rich, young and a ruler–goes out to see Jesus to ask a question. ‘What must I do to get to heaven?’

“From his perspective, that’s all that remained. He was set up for life with all the wine, women and song the commandments would allow. But he was curious how he could maintain that status in the afterlife.

“So when the boy was dissatisfied with Jesus’ response, Jesus gave him a truthful answer. You all remember that, don’t you? The truth? It used to float by every once in a while. Jesus told him, ‘If you want to go to heaven, go out, sell everything you’ve got and give it to the poor.’

“Was Jesus declaring some sort of war on poverty? Of course not. There were poor people when Jesus showed up and they were still there when he left. Jesus was declaring a war on selfishness. In other words, if you’re rich, you’re young, you’re a ruler and you’re following all the commandments and going to church like you should–and you’re still dissatisfied, the problem just may not be linked to your Bible study and prayer. It could be that you know you’re full of crap, but you just don’t like the idea of being full of crap.

“After all, Jesus only asked him to temporarily donate his wealth. He was young and he was a ruler, which certainly granted him the means to get funky and rich again. But to do so, he would have to admit that money was not the source of his power. The Good Book says he walked away sadly.

“Now, I’m lookin’ out this morning at sad people. Oh, you all would argue with me and insist you’re just fine. You would inform me that the boost of joy and gratitude our community experienced over the past couple of months was a shower of blessing, and now we’re just back to the heat of the day.

“You might even shake your heads and say, ‘Reverend Meningsbee, you just don’t understand us Nebraskan folk.’ But I’ll tell you–there are only three roads you can take.

“You can pretend there’s no heaven and just do whatever the hell you want to. You can pretend that heaven and hell is all there is, and make your reservation at the cooler place. Or you can believe that heaven and hell begin now. How we treat each other. How we approach our work. How we accept other people’s children. And whether or not we think God is smilin’ or frownin’.

“I will not pastor a church that thinks our journey is all about ‘making the pearly gates’ or ‘avoiding a devil’s hell.’ Yes, I will tell you plainly, if you don’t give a damn, then be damned with ya’. We’re gonna keep the revival alive instead of finding our hole and crawling in it.

“If you were that young chap, would you leave sadly? I guess the question is, will you leave sadly today?”

As Meningsbee finished, he jogged down the middle aisle, passing through the narthex, out the door, into the parking lot, jumped in his car, started it and left.

He didn’t want to hear opinions–and he didn’t want to be tempted to soften his words as the bruised filed by him on their way to mediocrity.

He would wait and see how the message of the day would survive the week.

 

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Good News and Better News … August 8th, 2016

Jonathots Daily Blog

(3027)

Lititz United Methodist Church

The big black van rolled up to Lititz United Methodist Church in Lititz, Pennsylvania, with Jan and myself inside.

We had two shows to do there. Although I must be honest, there are religious folks who do not like it when you call it a show, and also become quite indignant if you use the word “performance.” (Candidly, the only exercise some human beings get is fidgeting their brain with nonsense.)

So to keep peace, let me just say that it was after the “Second Encounter of the Church Kind” that a lady approached me, hugged me around the neck, pulled back slightly, looked me squarely in the face with tears in her eyes, and said, “Thank you for the common sense.”

It amazes me that anyone can read the Gospels and not come away from the experience realizing that Jesus was a promoter of common sense. Matter of fact, you could sum up his whole philosophy of life with one simple phrase: “To he who much is given, much is expected.”

That is a healthy dose of common sense.

The people I met on Sunday morning were courteous, caring, fun-loving and hopeful. You could change the world with such an army–that is, if you fed them with common sense. Perhaps a definition is due at this point, since I’ve been throwing around the term.

Common: we’re all human.

Sense: we all can learn.

That’s what it takes, folks.

When some people think they’re better than other people, creating a hierarchy among the Homo sapiens, any sense of fellowship disappears.

And if we don’t think we have anything to learn, all the good stuff that God could give us is limited to our own tightly wound minds.

Lititz was a snapshot of Middle America without any touch-up or air brushing.

  • They aren’t perfect because if they were, we’d have to hate them.
  • They aren’t all pretty, because if they were, we would feel intimidated.
  • They are mortals in need of common sense.

They come to church with a look in their eye that says, “We might be ready. We’re not sure. If your ideas are too crazy, we’ll move on down the road. But we might be ready. There’s a chance we’re prepared to leave the foolishness of religion, the insanity of politics and the selfishness of prejudice and find common ground.”

But they also communicate that they would really appreciate it if you’d be gentle. The mean-spirited approach of our present social structure has left many a soul wounded and frightened.

And finally, I think there’s a spirit in this country–a desire, if you will–to make it plain. Everything is too complicated. Break it down into its parts–and let’s take one part at a time.

The good news is that the uproar of ridiculous debate over nothing in this country has produced an appetite for common sense.

The better news is that Jesus has already given us the bacon and eggs.

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G-Poppers … August 5th, 2016

 Jonathots Daily Blog

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Jon close up

It throws tantrums like a frustrated toddler being refused candy in the grocery check-out line.

Foolish, aggravating and unrelenting.

Selfishness.

After several decades of misguided belief in the healing powers of self-worth, our culture is now stewing in the broth of excess self-importance.

  • I must be included.
  • I must be accepted.
  • I must be honored.

G-Pop is afraid that people no longer consider what they have to give, but only promote an inventory of the things they demand. And when a demanding voice encounters a self-reliant spirit, a dangerous impasse is generated, which can certainly foster violence.

G-Pop hopes his children will learn to show up on the playing field with their fellow-humans, prepared to offer a viable contribution to the cause instead of a yearning for self-esteem.

Matter of fact, sit down and write a note to yourself:

Dear Me,

I hope I wake up this morning realizing that the only way I’m going to be happy is to discover what I might be able to be and do that brings benefit. Then it’s just an issue of how I can step in without being overbearing, and use my ability. At that point I will gain value and appreciation.

Have you written your letter?

G-Pop will do his own. 

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PoHymn: A Rustling in the Stagnant … July 27th, 2016

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PoHymn Crying

crying

I am a voice crying in the wilderness

My throat is parched from screaming the need

Excuse me, sir, can you take a moment’s thought

To wonder why the Earth won’t move?

 

Flowers in the spring dare to bloom in front of us

Deserts of dreams simply blow away

A smile on the street seems to be suspicious

Churches that pray never seize the day

 

Come with me

(we’re too busy)

I have life

(so do we)

Where’s your joy?

(nothing’s funny)

Deal with me

(we have bigger barns to build)

 

I am the voice pleading in the land of less

We pan for gold in fields of debris

We seek for truth and draw swords of selfishness

We bless a lie and curse the truth

 

Come, won’t you join me in Jordan’s waters?

Cleansing the soul which has lost its feel

Tumbling the dice as you kneel before us

Casting your lot through the holy meal

 

Festering frightened

Ever enlightened

Joyfully jumbled

Wistfully humbled

 

I’m the voice

(crying)

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